lastminute.com Moves to Affiliate Marketing

[London, ENGLAND] Late deals company
lastminute.com announced
Monday a partnership with performance marketing specialist
Be Free, Inc. to develop a
pan-European affiliate marketing program.

Initially, the program will launch in the U.K. and will then be
extended to France, Sweden and Germany. The U.K. launch is
said to be “imminent,” although no fixed starting-date has been
announced.

Martha Lane Fox, chief operating officer and co-founder of
lastminute.com, said affiliate marketing offered a win-win
situation for both lastminute.com and its affiliate partners.
She called it an “ideal method” of expanding the company’s reach
efficiently and cost effectively.

“We only pay partners whose customers have been directed to us
and make a purchase on-site,” said Fox.

Widely implemented but sometimes controversial, affiliate
marketing has been criticized for working more in the favor
of the marketer than the affiliate. The marketer always gains
useful exposure whereas the affiliate gets only a very small
percentage from sales which — from the affiliate’s point
of view — are often few and far between.

Gordon Hoffstein, chairman and chief executive of Be Free, is
confident that lastminute.com will benefit from the deal, saying
it would lower customer acquisition costs and extend the brand’s
reach across the global Web.

lastminute.com has extended its operations from its original
offerings of last-minute air flights and holidays to other
late deals in entertainment and dining out, together with
a wide range of gift items. Earlier this year it signed
joint venture agreements that will take it beyond Europe to
Australia and South Africa.

45 percent of the goods sold on lastminute.com are non-travel
related, a fact which suggests there will be plenty of scope
for affiliates beyond the travel industry.

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